The Rochester Energy Storage Hub Expands



Empire State Development has recently announced that Eastman Kodak Company, in partnership with NY-BEST, will be installing two multi-user battery cell assembly lines at their Eastman Business Park site.  This is another big step in the development of a comprehensive battery and energy storage hub in Rochester.  The new lines complement existing resources developed by NY-BEST through prior partnerships including the Battery Prototyping Center at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and the BEST Test & Commercialization Center at the Eastman Business Park (EBP) that is operated by DNV GL.

The new battery pilot manufacturing facility will be operated by Kodak in partnership with NY-BEST and will utilize equipment supplied by Kodak.  This includes a dry room and specialized manufacturing equipment, such as cutting, winding, stacking, welding, filling, formation and packaging machines to make batteries, ultra-capacitors and other energy storage devices.  The new site will be capable of annual production rates thousands to hundreds-of-thousands of units and will serve existing battery and capacitor development and production companies as well as researchers and entrepreneurs who are working to advance the battery industry.

Empire State Development (ESD) has offered incentives for the project through an Upstate Revitalization Initiative capital grant valued at $1.2 million.  The project is expected to create nine direct jobs in the next two years while expanding pilot manufacturing capabilities at EBP, enabling commercial market entry for new products and helping to attract more new business to the 1,200-acre campus in Rochester.

ESD, the Finger Lakers Regional Economic Development Council, and Governor Cuomo have continued to provide support for the energy storage industry and the ongoing efforts to establish a world-class energy storage product development and manufacturing hub in New York State.  The multiple energy storage facilities in Rochester harness the expertise of both private and research companies as well as universities and are driving economic activity and creating jobs in the Greater Rochester area.

This March marks the second anniversary of the opening of the Battery Prototyping Center (BPC) at RIT which focuses on the development of emerging energy storage technologies through a partnership between RIT and NY-BEST.  The facility acts as a feeder for pilot manufacturing and produces low-volume prototypes on commercial production equipment to assist in product development and validate the performance of new products.  BPC is making pouch cells for numerous companies and is prototyping both batteries and capacitors.  NY-BEST members have priority access to the center and can purchase dry room time at a discounted rate.

April will see the third anniversary of the opening of the BEST Test & Commercialization Center (BEST T&CC.)  The center provides test and validation capabilities to the growing energy storage ecosystem in Rochester.  BEST T&CC brings together over 250 years of combined DNV GL and NY-BEST team expertise, including electrical testing of T&D equipment, battery and energy storage R&D, consultancy and testing.  Recent additions to the facility include additional system test capability, solar panel and grid simulators to test energy storage devices and controls, and expanded battery safety testing (specifically burn testing to provide data to support siting of energy storage systems.)

Eastman Business Park continues to re-invent itself as a national research and innovation hub.  The site where Kodak began manufacturing photographic film and paper more than a century ago has been repurposed to reinvigorate the Upstate region as a center of excellence in 21st century technologies.  With the addition of the new cell assembly center at Kodak, Rochester has become a national hub for battery innovation and production.  The three facilities in Rochester constitute an energy storage ecosystem that facilitates research, development and production all in one location.